By Piper Bayard
Parkour rocks. Maybe because it’s magic to those of us with bad knees or fear of heights. Maybe it’s because the guys in the parkour movies are ripped and don’t wear their shirts too often. But it’s probably because it takes amazing athleticism.
Parkour, or l’art du deplacement, is the art of moving fluidly through the environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping. It is often practiced in urban areas where there are plenty of buildings to jump between and railings and walls to jump over.
image by Eleazar Castillo, wikimedia
The founder of parkour is actor and choreographer David Belle. The son, grandson, and brother of rescuers in the French military fire service, he bases his art on the teachings of his father. His movies include District B13, B13—Ultimatum, and Prince of Persia.
Check out David Belle in this clip from District B13.
Of course, not everyone is a David Belle.
Though with time and hard work some few develop real skills.
Ronnie Shalvis and Devin Graham even combine parkour with a popular computer game. The joke in our house is that the animated figure in Assassin’s Creed walks like a runway model, and, of course, that his outfit makes him so anonymous on the streets. Ronnie doesn’t just wear the costume and jump over things. He studied the walk.
If you have a few minutes, the Behind the Scenes–Assassins Creed Meets Parkour is rather interesting. You’ll find it as an option at the end of this video.
So are you ready to go jump off your front porch?
All the best to all of you for a week of easy landings.
Young men, with a death wish.
Young women, do not choose these men as ideal pair bonders!
By the time they reach 40, IF they reach 40, they will have broken every bone in their bodies and you will be nursing them!
The French are NUTZ! Must be all that absinthe….
brendan (sober, old and still breathing…)
LOL. It’s true about the mate choice, Brendan, but they sure are fun to date. 🙂
I wish I could move like that.
Me, too. *sigh* 🙂
A friend of ours has two kids in Hollywood who are stunt doubles. His son was hurt filming Justin Timblerlake’s stunt for Pepsi. His daughter won some Ninja championship or another. I should interview her!
I love parkour and would love to learn how to do it. Hey! I can run down stadium stairs two steps at a time! Does that count? 🙂
You know, Susie, running down stadium stairs two at a time totally counts as parkour in my book. Sorry the friend’s son was hurt. Hope he heals completely and that it wasn’t serious. And I would love to read that interview. 🙂
Love to watch this stuff – but probably drives their mothers nuts?
Oh, man. I can guarantee you it would make me insane if my kids were into it. I have a nephew who would be great at it, but fortunately for his parents, he doesn’t show an interest. I don’t think they’ll let him read this blog. 🙂
Parkour is so much more than jumping over things! It’s a fun way to work out and makes you think about things differently, like the city you live in. Now that we’ve been practicing for a year we’re looking at things like walls and benches and we see fun obstacles rather than just a place to wait for the bus. We probably won’t be in any international competitions anytime soon, but it sure had made life fun and interesting for us!
That’s great! It looks like a blast, and I seriously wish I could do it. Parkour for me is jumping off my porch step. Do your parents cringe when you talk about it?
Love this, Piper. It’s hypnotically fascinating to watch the good ones. Somewhere I saw a video of a dog, from Belgium I believe, who was trained in Parkour. I won’t admit how long I spent watching that….
I think I saw that, too, Justine! I’ll see if I can dig it up at some point. 🙂
Parkour is very cool. Unfortunately, there are a lot of places now “teaching” it. But they don’t “teach” it correctly – and the amount of injuries in these classes keep going up. I actually pulled my son out of a parkour class – just before the instructor broke his leg. Ah. Timing is everything!
I’m guessing it’s one of those things you’re born for or you’re not to a certain extent. I would expect good parkour teachers are hard to come by. So glad it wasn’t your son’s leg. 🙂
In 5 years of my son doing parkour he has chipped (not fractured) his tibia, and broken one metacarpal bone in one hand. Before this he did gymnastics. so maybe this is a sport where people who done something requiring strength, discipline and flexibility have an advantage. The group he is in lead up to things very slowly. They don’t throw people in at the “deep end”. I was impressed by the careful approach to training. However, in the absence of national associations with proper training requirements and thresholds for instructors, there could be trouble with breakaways setting up their own groups/schools. This happens a lot in marital arts where “everybody wants to be shihan”. A karate group I was in 15 years ago split because a green belt thought he was black belt standard, the instructor wouldn’t grade him, so he split and set up his own school. Got a second dan belt belt through the main from an association in japan. If your kid is considering parkour, go to several of the sessions and see how the newbies are treated. If they don’t want parents hanging around, leave with your kid.
That sounds like some great advice, Richard. I understand exactly what you’re saying with the karate comparison. There seem to be more and more “belt mills” around our area. It’s the same in belly dancing. So many people want The Kingdom of Me and start up their own little colonies of new people who don’t know enough to realize the person hasn’t got a flaming clue. If they have a charismatic personality, they get away with it. It happens everywhere from athletics to politics. Except for a minority of people, image carries more weight than substance. With something like parkour, it could easily get someone killed. So glad your son found a good trainer.
I love the videos! Thanks so much for sharing them. I can see why you’re proud of your boy. 🙂
Piper, have you taken leave of your senses? Parkour is insanity. I’ve seen it close up and personal. I’m of the age that jumping from building to building and swinging on available objects is something that is left to the young and willing to sacrifice body parts and skin.
I’ll admit I’m not doing a lot of it myself. But I do love watching it done well. 🙂
My son does it since 5 years ago) . He was recently graded as a stunt actor. They do take extreme care in building up slowly to what they do, Here is a video of him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3WD0jHcS7s
And his recent stunt real, which includes parkour and fake fights, being kicked down stairs etc.
Wow! I love how he uses walls and other surfaces to bounce off of! I’m scared of heights and not athletic, so it was both tense and amazing to watch. Now I have a new word in my vocab! Thanks, Piper!
Isn’t it amazing. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. 🙂
Love Parkour. Would i try it? not at 42. In my 20’s, bungee jumping was the thing, and i used it to cure myself from fear of heights…it didn’t help though, when i got to the top of the crane, i paid the guy an extra $20 to shove me off the platform. i only wanted to die as my body plummeted above Excelcior Bay, and my head just nicked the water. if anything, i became more afraid of heights.
My son wants to study with Damien Walters in England he is crazy good.
My son just came home today with a parkour brochure. Serves me right. Perhaps we can send him to Damien in England and our sons can study together. 🙂